Pacific Nations Cup preview: Round 1

Date published: July 18 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Samoa_flanker_Jack_Lam

Canada, Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and USA will fight it out to become Pacific Nations Cup champions as this year's competition kicks off on Saturday.

With excitement building ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015, these six teams will want to cement combinations exactly two months before the big event begins.

The teams have been drawn in two pools of three with teams competing across the two groups in a round-robin competition, played in Fiji, USA and Canada.

Pool A: JAPAN, SAMOA, TONGA
Pool B: CANADA, FIJI, USA

Adding extra excitement to the competition schedule, for the positional play-offs the teams will be ranked according to the number of competition points gained across pool play. The finals will be held in Burnaby, Canada on August 3.

"The World Rugby funded Pacific Nations Cup always delivers excitement and highly-competitive action, but this year's edition takes on extra significance with Rugby World Cup 2015 just two months away," said World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"World Rugby is committed to supporting these teams on the road to England 2015 and it will be exciting to see where they are in their preparation as we look forward to what promises to be an exceptionally competitive Rugby World Cup."

There are plenty of household names on show over the weekend as Vereniki Goneva, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Leone Nakarawa run out for Fiji, who unfortunately are without star player Nemani Nadolo for the competition due to a rib injury.

Fiji's opponents are Tonga who have a strong pack, with Viliami Ma'afu, Nili Latu, Hale T Pole, Steve Mafi, Halani Aulika and Alisona Taumalolo standing out.

In San Jose, Canada take on Japan and will hope PRO12 stars Jeff Hassler and DTH van der Merwe threaten on the wings. They are, however, without forwards Jamie Cudmore and Jebb Sinclair while Japan are missing Fumiaki Tanaka.

The final game follows Canada versus Japan at the same venue as USA host Samoa boasting a strong back three of Chris Wyles, Taku Ngwenya and Blaine Scully. The impressive Danny Barrett wears number eight for the Eagles.

Samoa have made wholesale changes with Sinoti Sinoti's arrival standing out while TJ Ioane is on the blindside flank.

Round One teams

Fiji v Tonga

Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva (c), 12 Lepani Botia, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Henry Seniloli, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Talemaitoga Tuapati, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Taniela Koroi, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Peceli Yato, 21 Nikola Matawalu, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Metuisela Talebula.

Tonga: 15 Vunga Lilo, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Alipate Fatafehi, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Latiume Fosita, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Nili Latu (c), 6 Hale T Pole, 5 Tukulua Lokotui, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Alisona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Sosefo Sakalia, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Joe Tu'ineau, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Kurt Morath, 23 Otulea Katoa.

Date: Saturday, July 18
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Suva
Kick-off: 15:00 local, 03:00 GMT, 04:00 BST
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)


Canada v Japan

Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Connor Braid, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Liam Underwood, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Thyssen de Goede, 5 Jon Phelan, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Doug Wooldridge, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Carpenter, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Andrew Tiedemann, 19 Tyler Hotson, 20 Callum Morrison, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Nathan Hirayama, 23 Phil Mackenzie.

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru (c), 14 Yoshikazu Fujita, 13 Kotaro Matsushima, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Hayden Hopgood, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Justin Ives, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Hisateru Hirashima.
Replacements: 16 Keita Inagaki, 17 Takeshi Kizu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Kazuhiko Usami, 20 Tsuyoshi Murata, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Toshiaki Hirose, 23 Tim Bennetts.

Date: Saturday, July 18
Venue: Avaya Stadium, San Jose
Kick-off: 17:00 local, 00:00 GMT 1d, 01:00 BST 1d
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Nick Ricono (USA)


USA v Samoa

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Thretton Palamo, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Alan MacGinty, 9 Shalom Suniula, 8 Danny Barrett, 7 John Quill, 6 Cam Dolan, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Matekitonga Moeakiola, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements 16 Zach Fenoglio, 17 Chris Baumann, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Scott Lavalla, 20 Andrew Durutalo, 21 Mike Petri, 22 Andrew Suniula, 23 Zach Test.

Samoa: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Faialaga Afamasaga, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Patrick Faapale, 9 Vavao Afemai, 8 Sanele Vavae Tuilagi, 7 Jack Lam, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Jake Grey, 19 Maselino Paulino, 20 Oneone Faafou, 21 Pele Cowley, 22 Johnny Leota, 23 Fa'atoina Autagavaia.

Date: Saturday, July 18
Venue: Avaya Stadium, San Jose
Kick-off: 19:00 local, 02:00 GMT 1d, 03:00 BST 1d
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Andrew McMaster (Canada)

COMMENTS